Unless you get the people in your team and organisation working well together, nothing much will flow. You feel drained, they feel frustrated and profits will suffer.
Picture this: Six executives enter a meeting room. They make up the organisation’s leadership team. Within a few minutes everyone is on their own mission. One person is pushing ideas. A second is opposing loudly. The third executive just agrees with everything number one is saying, and doesn’t add anything original. The other three are mostly quiet. One person is even checking emails under the table.
As you think about making the team dynamics in your organisations better, you might be wondering:
- What do you when some of your most talented people are disruptive in team settings?
- How do you create consensus without just having groupthink?
- How can you create trust in the team, when people have just met and every time you start getting somewhere another team members leaves or joins?
- How do you get people to care about everyone else’s success?
- Where does people’s loyalty lie? And how do you get them to be loyal to your leadership and the success of this team?
Here is what you need to know about team dynamics:
No amount of individual leadership training or happy-clappy team days will get your people dynamics right, if the fundamentals have not been taken care of.
Because it is not the quality of the leadership or the lack of willingness from each person that gets in the way of team success.
The truth is there is an unconscious hierarchy dictating performance!
The key to unlocking this hierarchy is remembering that as human beings we are wired to want to belong to a group. In our DNA we are systemic beings. That means that on a primal level we are constantly fighting for our belonging. We are fighting to be in the best place in the group and whereas it was simple to understand who was strongest in tribal days – (the one who was the better hunter) – in our modern-day work life, it is a lot more complex.
In fact, organisational hierarchy is multi-dimensional.
And until you know how to work with the many dimensions of hierarchy – length of time in the team, amount of experience in the field, actual performance output, knowledge of the task at hand, physical age etc. – and until you understand some fundamental systemic truths, your will waste both yours and your team members energy and time.
You need to understand, that:
- There are hidden power dynamics at play, always.
- If you don’t make the hierarchy obvious everyone will be wondering who is in charge and a hierarchy will develop anyway.
- Each time a person leaves or joins the team it is a new team and that changes the overall dynamics.
- When you are a new leader, you have to lead from the last place.
- A team is not an island. A team is always part of a bigger system and what happens to other parts in that system will affect the team.
- We get confused about our roles because we are members of many teams. Sometimes that means we don’t participate fully in any team. We just end up being a sort of messenger between the different groups we belong too.
And it is the role of the leader is to help everybody in the team find their right place, so they can focus on getting on with it, rather than on securing their power in the group.
The great news is that there is a powerful and effective way to work with team dynamics that can shift things for the better almost instantly. It is called constellations.
Constellations is a way of working that allows us to create physical maps of relational dynamics while using the wisdom of what it takes to create a well-functioning system to get clarity and solutions.
The work of organisational constellations is developed from family constellations. There are two reasons why family constellations are relevant to the world of work.
1) We all bring our personal stuff to work and, although it is not pretty to talk about, a lot of the misunderstandings we deal with around bosses and colleagues are really unfinished business from our personal history.
2) A team or an organization is in many ways like a family. It has a history, it has experiences over time and it needs to be structured around a certain order to succeed.
Constellations can easily solve a demotivated team or a clash between departments in just a few sessions. You will look at your organisation differently because the constellations approach takes into account the past, the present and the future and things you may not have thought of like historical dynamics and unconscious loyalties come to the surface.
The first three steps are one-to-one with leader of the team:
- Assessment – getting really clear what is needed to improve the relational dynamics
- Mapping/Constellating – we map the relevant dynamics and get a sort of x-ray of the interpersonal complexities
- Insights and Action Points – we distil the insights from the maps and make a clear action plan on what you need to do to upgrade the team dynamics
- Team Alignment – If we agree it to be appropriate we plan a team day with all the relevant participants. We get hands on to align everybody in the team in relation to each other and their tasks. We use more mapping and constellation techniques to do this.
- Moving forward – I will outline the key focus areas for maintaining good team dynamic and share practical actions to put in place.